Horry County drug court fights crime

By A.J. Ross - bio | email

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) –   The Horry County Solicitor's Office is gearing up to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Horry County Drug Court program.  The program is an alternative measure which targets nonviolent offenders and places them through an intense rehabilitation and probation process.

"You send them to jail and they'll get clean and sober when they're in jail, but when they get out six months later they're right back with us," explained Solicitor Greg Hembree with the 15th Judicial Circuit.

Hembree says he was tired of seeing the same people relapse and fall back into crime, that's why his department started the program.  While enrolled in drug court participants must undergo random drug tests and appear in court at least once a week.  Members also have to maintain a job, adhere to a curfew, and receive counseling.  In the past five years, 63 people have graduated from the program.

"The people involved with this program really care about the clients I mean the judge, the staff, the treatment professionals, even the other members are all pulling for that participant," said Hembree.

But Hembree warns drug court is no walk in the park.

"They enter a process of very intensive treatment, very intensive monitoring, and  it's much more difficult than probation," said Hembree.

The length of the program varies per participant and per offense.  According to the Solicitor's Office, drug court has saved tax payers close to $3 million dollars over the past five years through reductions in incarceration and law enforcement costs.

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